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image
© Hyang Cho, Trial II, 2012. Crayon graphite sur rouleau de papier | Graphite pencil on paper roll. 128,27 x 1 188 cm. Avec l'aimable permission de l’artiste | Courtesy of the artist.

Hyang Cho
From March 16th 2013 to April 20th 2013
Procès

Hyang Cho’s conceptual work is essentially concerned with the performative rendering of language: “I use language as a primary medium to question the contradictions of the various systems governing the society in which I live, from my position as a ‘fringe observer.’” Cho develops exacting working protocols in order to then transcribe major works by philosophers (Baruch Spinoza in The Rest is Silence, 2011), musicians (Johann Sebastien Bach in Three Variations of Two-Part Inventions, 2009), and writers (Mary Shelly in Frankenstein, 2009). Broaching disciplines and languages that are not her own, the artist questions notions of authority. Procès is a new body of work closely tied to Franz Kafka’s Der Process (1925).

In Trial I, Cho faithfully reproduces 26 pages from the original German manuscript—including all the deletions and ink stains—preserved in the Literaturmuseum der Moderne (Marbach am Neckar, Germany). Taken from chapter 9—“Im Dom” (“In the Cathedral”)—excerpts available on the Web were downloaded, printed, and then meticulously traced in pencil in three (nearly) identical copies. Placed in counter-chronological order and interspersed with blank sheets of paper, the resulting “drawings” are compiled into three unbound books and arranged side by side on a shelf. While such a display suggests archival and museum presentational standards, spectators here may handle the objects.

Trial II rather figures in a sculptural mode; in both its creative process and in its reception, it solicits the body. On an 11-meter-long roll of Stonehenge paper placed on a floor-level base, the artist attempts to transcribe the English version of Kafka’s work at the accelerated pace of an audio book—an activity tirelessly repeated until all the space has been filled. The resulting text, incomplete and practically illegible, opens onto a semiotic approach to writing: reduced to a surface covered in signs, the work refers us to the materiality and to the limits of the act of writing. In the end, Cho reveals the artist’s and the spectator’s mutual inability to intelligibly render all the stages of the mediation, along with the divergences between original, copy, and simulacrum (Deleuze), and all that is “lost in translation.”

Geneviève Bédard

The artist thanks the Ontario Arts Council.

After completing a bachelor’s in history at Sogang University (Seoul, South Korea, 1998), Hyang Cho commenced studies in fine arts: she holds a bachelors’ from the Alberta College of Art and Design (2007) and a master’s from the University of Guelph (2009). Although her work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions throughout Canada since 2006, Procès is her first project in Quebec. Represented by the Georgia Scherman Projects (Toronto), Hyang Cho lives and works in Guelph, Ontario.